13 March 2015

President Aquino nominates Acting Health Secretary Garin to Commission on Appointments
President Aquino has signed the nomination of Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin as Secretary of the Department of Health (DOH), Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Thursday.

“The nomination was sent by the Office of the President to the Commission on Appointments, which will eventually schedule the confirmation hearing,” Coloma said in a note released to the media.

Acting Secretary Garin was Undersecretary for the DOH Women, Children and Family Health Cluster, before she was appointed Acting Secretary in November 2014. She assumed the post after then health secretary Enrique Ona took a leave of absence.

Garin was formerly a Representative of Iloilo’s First district from June 30, 2004 to June 30, 2013, and had previously served as board member of the province for six years.

She actively pushed for the passage of the Reproductive Health Care and Population Development law, and likewise played an active role in the enactment of the Cheaper Medicines Law and the Magna Carta of Women. PND (as)

Assistance to relatives of fallen police commandos continuing, says Palace
Several government agencies have already extended educational, medical and housing assistance to the families of the 44 PNP Special Action Force (SAF) commandos who died in the Mamasapano clash last January, a Palace official reported on Friday.

In a press briefing in Malacañang, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the assistance to the bereaved families of the fallen SAF troopers have been continuing.

“Apart from monetary aid from the President’s Social Fund, the national government has also been providing support in the form of scholarships, employment assistance, and housing grants, among others,” Valte told reporters.

For instance, Valte said, the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) has accepted many children into its scholarship program, while the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will extend assistance to dependents who want to study in college.

Those who will not be covered by either the NAPOLCOM or CHED will be given assistance through the President’s Social Fund, she said.

At the same time, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has already scheduled sessions for those interested in undergoing skills training and career coaching, she said, adding that employment assistance is also being extended through the facilitation and endorsement of applications, both within and outside government.

In terms of livelihood assistance, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has been conducting assessments based on the families’ interests and the department is scheduled to submit project proposals within the next few weeks, Valte said.

She further said that for those who have expressed interest in putting up businesses or expanding existing ones, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has been exploring opportunities in their respective communities, and has committed to providing seed funds.

The Department of Health (DOH) is also extending medical care to the families of the fallen SAF commandos, she said.

According to Valte, DOH personnel have accompanied family members to medical checkups and the department has shouldered all related expenses including medicine.

To address their specific needs, she said, health officials have set up financial aid mechanisms for those requiring regular care, such as monitoring of pregnant family members.

For their housing needs, the Palace spokesperson said the National Housing Authority (NHA) is in constant communication with the families, assisting them in the acquisition of houses and lots.

Project proposals are being drawn up for the housing units, and some 16 houses will be ready for occupancy within the next two months, she noted, adding that the NHA is also coordinating with families who have requested assistance for the repair and reconstruction of their existing houses.

“The President has repeatedly emphasized that the government is committed to securing the future of the fallen SAF troopers’ families,” Valte said.

The 44 SAF commandos, on a mission to apprehend two high-value terrorists, died in Mamasapano, Maguindanao following a fierce firefight with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other armed groups. PND (as)

Malacañang optimistic Health Secretary Garin would get appointment commission’s nod
The Palace is optimistic that Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Garin would get the approval of the Commission on Appointments (CA).In a press briefing on Friday, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte noted that “if there are any issues, we are certain that Secretary Garin will be able to address the ones that are asked of her during her hearings”.

Garin was Undersecretary for the DOH Women, Children and Family Cluster prior to her appointment as Acting Health Secretary in November 2014 after then health secretary Enrique Ona took a leave of absence.

Valte said Garin has performed well in her capacity as acting secretary.

“I think you have seen also in the past months, since she was appointed as Acting Secretary — I think that was in November — that she has been confronted with several issues and that, so far, the outcomes have been satisfactory. Siyempre, ‘yung MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) [coronavirus], and the threat of Ebola entering the country. So far, she has performed her work,” she said.

Garin’s nomination as Health Department Secretary was signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. announced on Thursday.

“The nomination was sent by the Office of the President to the Commission on Appointments, which will eventually schedule the confirmation hearing,” Secretary Coloma said.

Garin served as Representative of Iloilo’s First District from June 30, 2004 to June 30, 2013. PND (jm)

Palace announces new appointments
Malacañang on Friday announced the appointment of several individuals who will fill various government positions.

President Benigno S. Aquino III appointed last March 3 Ronald Chua as Commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and Ardeliza Medenilla as Undersecretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Also appointed were Augusto Lopez Dee as member, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas representative, Board of Directors of the Social Housing Finance Corp.; Cecilia Manikan as member, Board of Trustees of the APO Production Unit Inc.; Eugene Tan and Joseph Emnas as members, Board of Administrators of the National Electrification Administration; and Fernando Barreiro and Herminio Alcasid, Sr. as members, Board of Directors of the Philippine National Oil Co.

Appointed on March 6 were Joel Jaime Payumo as Undersecretary, Office of the Political Adviser; Amina Rasul Bernardo as member, Board of Regents of the Mindanao State University; and Benel Lagua as member, Development Bank of the Philippines representative, Board of Directors of the Small Business Corp. PND (as)